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Matthew E. Fewel and Hugh J. L. Garton

✓ Migration of distal ventriculoperitoneal shunt tubing is known to occur in a wide of variety of locations. The authors report an unusual complication involving a previously confirmed intraperitoneal shunt catheter that migrated into the heart and pulmonary vasculature. Radiographic evidence suggested that this occurred secondary to cannulation of a segment of the external jugular vein with a shunt trochar during tunneling of the distal catheter. This is the sixth reported case of a peritoneal shunt tube migrating proximally into the heart.

The authors review the literature regarding migration of distal tubing into the heart and pulmonary artery. Based on imaging studies obtained in the present case, the authors posit that the mechanism for this unusual type of shunt migration is inadvertent penetration of either the internal or external jugular vein during the initial tunneling procedure. Negative intrathoracic pressure and slow venous flow then draws the catheter out of the peritoneum and into the vasculature. The distal catheter then migrates into the right side of the heart and pulmonary artery. Diagnosis and management of this type of complication is discussed.

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Jacob R. Joseph, Brandon W. Smith and Hugh J. L. Garton

Blunt prenatal trauma is known to have consequences to the developing brain, and can result in subdural hematoma (SDH) or epidural hematoma (EDH). The authors present a case of blunt prenatal trauma resulting in a fetal SDH, intraparenchymal hematoma, and intraventricular hemorrhage, and perform a systematic review of the literature. This systematic review was conducted according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. Relevant studies (up to April 2016) that reported on cases of fetal SDH or EDH after blunt prenatal trauma were identified from the PubMed database. The primary outcome was fetal mortality, and the secondary outcome was neurological outcome. Fourteen studies were included in the analysis, comprising a total of 14 patients including the present case. The average gestational age at discovery of hemorrhage was 30.1 weeks. Nine mothers were in a motor vehicle collision and 3 were assaulted; the mechanism of injury for 2 mothers was not defined. Twelve patients had SDH, 1 had EDH, and 1 had conflicting reports. Three patients had intrauterine fetal demise, and 3 died in the neonatal period after birth. Three patients had persistent neurological deficit, and 5 were neurologically intact. Fetal SDH or EDH after blunt trauma to the mother trauma is rare and is associated with mortality. However, a significant number of patients can have good neurological outcomes.

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Jennifer Strahle, Andrew J. Odden, Cormac O. Maher and Hugh J. L. Garton

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Zhe Guan, Todd Hollon, J. Nicole Bentley and Hugh J. L. Garton

Epidermoid cysts (ECs) are uncommon pediatric tumors that often occur in the cerebellopontine angle. Although cyst rupture is a recognized complication, the radiographic evolution of an EC following rupture and the resultant parenchymal brainstem edema have not been reported. The authors present the case of a 13-year-old female with a newly diagnosed cerebellopontine angle EC who presented with worsening headaches, photophobia, and emesis. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated significant pericystic brainstem edema and mass effect with effacement of the fourth ventricle. Refractory symptoms prompted repeat imaging, revealing cyst enlargement and dense rim enhancement. Resection of the EC resolved both her symptoms and the brainstem edema. This case documents the radiographic evolution of EC rupture and subsequent clinical course.

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Hugh J. L. Garton, Paul Park and Stephen M. Papadopoulos

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Hugh J. L. Garton, John R. W. Kestle and James M. Drake

Object. In evaluating pediatric patients for shunt malfunction, predictive values for symptoms and signs are important in deciding which patients should undergo an imaging study, whereas determining clinical findings that correlate with a low probability of shunt failure could simplify management.

Methods. Data obtained during the recently completed Pediatric Shunt Design Trial (PSDT) were analyzed. Predictive values were calculated for symptoms and signs of shunt failure. To refine predictive capability, a shunt score based on a cluster of signs and symptoms was derived and validated using multivariate methods.

Four hundred thirty-one patient encounters after recent shunt insertions were analyzed. For encounters that took place within 5 months after shunt insertion (early encounters), predictive values for symptoms and signs included the following: nausea and vomiting (positive predictive value [PPV] 79%, likelihood ratio [LR] 10.4), irritability (PPV 78%, LR 9.8), decreased level of consciousness (LOC) (PPV 100%), erythema (PPV 100%), and bulging fontanelle (PPV 92%, LR 33.1). Between 9 months and 2 years after shunt insertion (late encounters), only loss of developmental milestones (PPV 83%, LR 36.7) and decreased LOC (PPV 100%) were strongly associated with shunt failure. However, the absence of a symptom or sign still left a 15 to 29% (early encounter group) or 9 to 13% (late encounter group) chance of shunt failure. Using the shunt score developed for early encounters, which sums from 1 to 3 points according to the specific symptoms or signs present, patients with scores of 0, 1, 2, and 3 or greater had shunt failure rates of 4%, 50%, 75%, and 100%, respectively. Using the shunt score derived from late encounters, patients with scores of 0, 1, and 2 or greater had shunt failure rates of 8%, 38%, and 100%, respectively.

Conclusions. In children, certain symptoms and signs that occur during the first several months following shunt insertion are strongly associated with shunt failure; however, the individual absence of these symptoms and signs offers the clinician only a limited ability to rule out a shunt malfunction. Combining them in a weighted scoring system improves the ability to predict shunt failure based on clinical findings.

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Paul Steinbok, Hugh J. L. Garton and Nalin Gupta

Object

Tethered cord syndrome (TCS) is associated with a number of congenital anomalies involving early development of the spinal cord. These include myelomeningocele, spinal cord lipoma, low-lying conus medullaris, and a fibrofatty terminal filum. Occult TCS occurs in patients when clinical features indicate a TCS but the typical anatomical abnormalities are lacking. It is controversial whether surgical release of the terminal filum leads to clinical improvement in a patient who does not have a previously identified anatomical abnormality. To assess the clinical standard used by practicing pediatric neurosurgeons, a practice survey was conducted at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the Joint Section for Pediatric Neurological Surgery of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Methods

The survey examined clinical decision making for a same-case scenario with differing appearance on imaging studies. There was a clear consensus regarding diagnosis and treatment in the patient with symptoms, a low-lying conus medullaris, and a fatty terminal filum. The vast majority of respondents (85%) favored surgical untethering for this patient. A majority of respondents (67%) also favored treatment for the patient having symptoms and a fatty terminal filum. There was, however, significant disagreement regarding the diagnosis and treatment of disease in one patient with symptoms and an inconclusive magnetic resonance imaging study. Some respondents clearly favored surgery, whereas others believed that this patient did not meet the diagnostic criteria for TCS.

Conclusions

The results of this survey support the development of a randomized clinical trial to address the benefit of surgery for occult TCS.

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Wajd N. Al-Holou, Cormac O. Maher, Karin M. Muraszko and Hugh J. L. Garton

Object

The authors reviewed their experience with pediatric pineal cysts to define the natural history and clinical relevance of this common intracranial finding.

Methods

The authors identified all patients with pineal cysts who had been clinically evaluated at their institution over an 11.5-year interval and were < 25 years of age at the time of diagnosis. All inclusion criteria were met in 106 patients, and included repeated MR imaging as well as repeated clinical evaluation over at least a 6-month interval.

Results

The mean age at diagnosis was 11.7 ± 7.2 years. Forty-two patients were male and 64 were female. On follow-up MR imaging evaluation at a mean interval of 3.0 years from the initial study, 98 pineal cysts had no increase in size and no change in imaging appearance. Six pineal cysts increased in size and 2 others had a change in imaging characteristics without associated growth. Younger age was associated with cyst change or growth on follow-up imaging (p = 0.02). The mean age of patients with cysts that changed or grew was 5.5 years, and the mean age of patients with stable pineal cysts was 12.2 years. Initial cyst size and appearance on MR imaging were not significant predictors of growth or change in imaging appearance at follow-up. Similarly, the patient's sex was not a significant predictor of growth or change in imaging characteristics.

Conclusions

Follow-up imaging and neurosurgical evaluation may be considered optional in older children with pineal cysts.

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Jeffrey L. Nadel, D. Andrew Wilkinson, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to determine the rates of screening and surgery for foramen magnum stenosis in children with achondroplasia in a large, privately insured healthcare network.

METHODS

Rates of screening and surgery for foramen magnum stenosis in children with achondroplasia were determined using de-identified insurance claims data from a large, privately insured healthcare network of over 58 million beneficiaries across the United States between 2001 and 2014. Cases of achondroplasia and screening and surgery claims were identified using a combination of International Classification of Diseases diagnosis codes and Current Procedural Terminology codes. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) practice guidelines were used to determine screening trends.

RESULTS

The search yielded 3577 children age 19 years or younger with achondroplasia. Of them, 236 met criteria for inclusion in the screening analysis. Among the screening cohort, 41.9% received some form of screening for foramen magnum stenosis, whereas 13.9% of patients were fully and appropriately screened according to the 2005 guidelines from the AAP. The screening rate significantly increased after the issuance of the AAP guidelines. Among all children in the cohort, 25 underwent cervicomedullary decompression for foramen magnum stenosis. The incidence rate of undergoing cervicomedullary decompression was highest in infancy (28 per 1000 patient-years) and decreased with age (5 per 1000 patient-years for all other ages combined).

CONCLUSIONS

Children with achondroplasia continue to be underscreened for foramen magnum stenosis, although screening rates have improved since the release of the 2005 AAP surveillance guidelines. The incidence of surgery was highest in infants and decreased with age.

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Jennifer Strahle, Béla J. Selzer, Karin M. Muraszko, Hugh J. L. Garton and Cormac O. Maher

Object

The authors investigated the effect of a tablet computer on performance-level settings of a programmable shunt valve.

Methods

Magnetic field strength near the tablet computer with and without a cover was recorded at distances between 0 and 100 mm. Programmable valves were exposed to the tablet device at distances of less than 1 cm, 1–2.5 cm, 2.5–5 cm, 5–10 cm, and greater than 10 cm. For each distance tested, the valves were exposed 100 times to the tablet with the cover, resulting in 500 total valve exposures. The tablet alone, without the cover, was also tested at distances of less than 1 cm for 30 valve exposures. Changes in valve performance-level settings were recorded.

Results

The maximum recorded magnetic flux density of a tablet with a cover was 17.0 mT, and the maximum recorded magnetic flux density of the tablet alone was 7.6 mT. In 100 exposures at distances between 0 and 1 cm, 58% of valves had different settings following exposure. At distances greater than 1 cm but less than 2.5 cm, 5% of valves in 100 exposures had setting changes. Only a single setting change was noted in 100 exposures at distances greater than 2.5 cm but less than 5 cm. No setting changes were noted at distances greater than 5 cm, including 100 exposures between 5 and 10 cm, and 100 exposures of more than 10 cm. For the 30 valve exposures to the tablet without a cover, 20 valve performance-level changes (67%) were noted.

Conclusions

Based on these results, exposure to tablet devices may alter programmable shunt valve settings.